The fishing season ended on a rough note for my last 3 tournaments. Hef and I had a boat breakdown during one, and Ryan and I just couldn’t seem to get anything going in the other two. With 4 tournament wins under our belts this year there is no room for complaining though! I consider one or two wins on Rend a year to be spectacular so the bar has been set very high for 2017. I won’t be in the area as often to practice as I’d like either which could make things really interesting for us.
Late last night on my way home I got a little flashback to my late teens and early 20s when I was less than a mile away from my house driving down Pershing Road (the death trap) when I saw some flashers up ahead and a huge shadow laying across the road. Once I established there was a wreck I backed up and flipped my hazards on and rushed up to the car but on my way up I realized the shadow was an old black Mare and the car involved was super tiny. Fearing the worse I got up to the car and saw another bystander talking with the driver who was still in her car and obviously in severe shock but was physically unharmed so I went back to check on the horse which was trying to get up. My first job ever was working with show horses and then race horses so I’ve been around them. As the old girl tried to get back up she couldn’t quite get her back two up because they were broken. The horse had literally rolled over the car. Not seeing any bleeding at all and seeing a swollen belly you could put two and two together and tell she didn’t have long. I sat there with her and comforted her until she took those last few gasps and the eyes glazed over. I won’t lie it was a little emotional. The fire department showed up and I got to see a couple of old friends which reminded me how much I didn’t miss that job (not the friends but the emergencies).
Once again I was given some compliments on the site and blog and how well I was at telling stories so I thank you “Bekka”. I assure you none of these are made up and I get that gift from my late Uncle. He was able to tell a story so real you would believe you were there even if it happened 25 years ago.
The really big news is I was able secure a sponsorship and a partnership with a bait maker with an outstanding record and I will be able to continue building this platform through them! Everything for the last 10 months or so have been so awesome with everything falling in line that soon nobody will see me in that dreaded mailman uniform ever again! I really look forward to taking this site national and do what I love for a living. Thank you to everyone who reads these and supports what I do!
(No fish, All Hef’s fault! Dead last place! hahah)
Hef and I had back to back Sunday’s fishing the Rend Lake Lunker Busters on the 21st and 28th. So far we have been very lucky this year winning both the previous two but conditions changed rapidly on rend for the first tournament. After having a decent tournament the week before the lake had rose up from recent flooding over 2 feet giving the fish a reason to move back into the bays scouring for crawfish and other prey. The issue for Rend is that the fish can get way back to the point that they are unreachable. The first of the two tournaments turned out to be a complete disaster. We had 1 good fish and 3 dinks for the entire day. What made matters worst was everyone caught fish all day but us. Hey it happens!
We decided before the 2nd tournament we’d fish Saturday morning before I had to go to work. We had no desire to come back with one fish again. The practice turned out to be one of the best mornings I’d ever experienced on the lake. We were on a lot of fish and the size seemed to be there so we decided to stay back in South Marcum.
On the morning of the tournament we headed to our bank but I had Hef shutdown just before on a hunch that a rock flat that had the potential to produce a nice fish could get us started off right. 3 casts in with my crankbait and the rod loaded up. I told Hef if this is a bass it’s a good one! Sure enough we boat a 5 pounder to start our day. We stayed on the flat for only a few more minutes. Hef snagged one just shy on his spook and we moved on in. The crankbait had done it’s job and now it was time for a frog. I threw into a grass patch and without even flicking the bait a bass gulped it. Once again it was just shy of the 14″ mark. We trolled down to a tree that has been pretty good to me in the past, and as I casted up toward it I told Hef how good of a spot this has been to me. I jumped and twitched the frog perfectly across but with no success. For some odd reason instead of reeling it back up, the boat quickly of borrowing cash click this http://wolfinace.co.uk and getting another cast in I decided to twitch it all the way back. Less than 10 feet away from the boat a 4lbs comes almost out of the water and inhales the bait. I see him, dump my rod for a second and then slam into our second kicker fish of the day. From here on out we were content with just getting 3 more into the boat so we could hit the 15lbs mark that seems to win fairly often. After a couple more dink fish we roll down to a half dozen or so trees pointing towards us in the water. I opted to go to the spinnerbait to try to get a reaction bite. First cast I get a taker but it was only about 12 inches so he had to go back in. We get down to one of the last logs with no luck when we see a mini log jam way out off the bank. I casted to the left side of it with no luck but on the 2nd cast to the right I get crushed! I stick him and when it comes to the surface I can see another 5 pounder attached to my line! Hef nets him up and now we sit with around 14 pounds with only 3 fish! I’ve never had that happen by the way. Here’s where it just starts getting stupid. Not even 5 minutes later I drop my spinnerbait for no great reason and decide to pick up a shaky head and pitch to a stick laying up against some cane. One pop off and I feel the fish gulp my bait. I go for the stick and almost lose my rod in the process. I bring up another solid fish just shy of 4lbs. Here we are sitting on Rend lake at 8:45 in the morning with 17 plus pounds of fish and still trying to get our limit. What? What about Hef? Well, we’ll get there… We fish around into the back of the cove only to come out with a couple of dinks when I tell him we should run down to a flooded field and check the grass there. We get there and flip around. I tell Hef to throw into that grass mat since I’m back on a spinnerbait. He throws in, buries the hook into a 2 pounder which jumps perfectly out of the grass but flips off on the very next splash (tough break). After another dink we go back to our original starting bank which gives up a couple of more dinkers when Hef decided to drag his jig over the top of a tree. A bass flashes his bait but seemed to have missed it on the dart so another tough break for the big fella. We only have about an hour to go (it was over at noon) so I tell him let’s go up to a place where I know we can get number 5. We run up to the north end up by Wayne Fitzgerald park and only a couple of casts in #5 whacks my spinnerbait. It was barely 14 inches but he wouldn’t stay in the box long. About 50 yards into the cove I spot 3 pieces of buckbrush and cast along side them. On the third and final piece I get another taker which was closer to 15 inches so we switched the two smaller fish out. We still had a lot of time to try to get to that holly grail “20lbs stringer” but we decided to go back to the ramp since we felt like there was no since in risking our tournament.
Back at the scales we were very shocked to see another boat weigh in only 3 fish for 13.5lbs including a 6.50lbs kicker which completely knocked us out of the running for what I was certain would be big fish, Oh well! Hef bags up our fish and dumps them on the scales giving me my personal best, and our team best, 18.61lbs stringer I’ve ever had on Rend. Poor Hef was behind the eight ball and just couldn’t get the keeper bite going all day long and believe me I let him have it too! It happens to us all though!
Tournament 1, 1 Fish 2.5lbs (did not place) Tournament 2, 5 fish 18.61lbs, First place
Ryan and I have struggled on the “Bass World” trail on Rend Lake this year. Not that we haven’t caught fish, we just haven’t caught quality fish and we can’t figure out what we’ve done wrong. Often times we come in with limits while guys who have previously won with large weights come in empty handed. It’s very aggravating but there is a reason for it which we will eventually figure out using a process of elimination. Rain was in the forecast so we knew we could cover some water and that the fish should be active.
We left sailboat harbor and ran straight down the south Marcum to fish a rock bank that has a steep drop off. I began with a top water spook while he cranked parallel the bank. I had a fish swipe at my bait rather early but missed, I went to check him with a shaky head to see if he’d come back which he did. After landing him he fell just short of the 14 inch limit. Less than 5 minutes later Ryan hooked into our first fish which went over 15 inches starting our day off on the right foot. We stayed on the bank for about 30 minutes before running over to a point which held a willow tree and a few isolated trees out in the mouth of a bay. The shad were being ran by the bass into there giving us high hopes to get keepers 2 and 3. Ryan made one pitch into the Willow tree with a jig and came out with keeper #2. Afterwards we were able to catch 2 more in the bay before the fish moved back out, unfortunately they were short. We hopped down another 50 yards (by this time I was using a spinnerbait) when I got a fish to hit me right at the boat giving us keeper #3. With 3 fish that wouldn’t even run 5lbs we were already starting to do our normal average of small bass which aggravated us both. Another 20 yards down the bank and we got a glimmer of hope. Ryan pitched a jig into a few cat tails when I heard him set the hook. The fish came up which looked like a nice one. We netted it guessing the fish to be around 4lbs. That changed the momentum for us at the time being. Only another 25 yards down and I saw a small shrub sticking up. I tossed a spinnerbait at it and caused the bait to flutter up against it. My line took off and I swung fish #5 into the boat. It looked to be about 2lbs. It was only 8:15 and we already had our limit. This took a ton of pressure off of us as I was able to put on a couple of very large baits and fish for a gigantic fish to upgrade with. After a couple of small bites we opted to run over to a cluster of trees that sat out off of a point. First Cast I catch another keeper on very large spook but the fish wouldn’t cull us up since he barely went over 14 inches which was disappointing. After hitting a couple more spots and catching my usual catfish we ran back to the bank we had caught all of our fish on. We got down to the area where keeper #2 came from when I pitched a shaky head to an offshore tree. I was just getting ready to finish my retrieve when I felt a thump at the boat and saw the line running. One quick swing and I was able to cull up around a pound with a nice solid fish. That would be the end of our keeper for the day. We made a run up into gun creek but a boat was sitting on our spot so we decided we’d just flip brush trying with respective to the best process by moderne child online to upgrade the rest of the day. I was able to catch 2 very large dogfish which gave up quite a fight but God are those some nasty fish. Each case I was forced to cut my line so I wouldn’t lose a finger in those razor sharp teeth. The day went on uneventful other than a couple of small keepers and we ran back to sailboat to weigh in our fish.
At the scales we were once again disappointed to see our big fish was only 3.26lbs and our total weight went just for 10.60. What was more aggravating was that the 3 top weight leaders sat outside of sailboat harbor and caught release fish all day. This isn’t cheating at all but it really takes away from our sport in my humble opinion. When I get going on this full time I’m more than happy to fund a release boat so that we might be able to get these fish back out in the channel so they can filter back throughout the lake as opposed to just dropping them all in one spot and giving fisherman an excuse to not leave the area. I will also apologize in advance for the lackluster blog post but I just woke up from a long nap and was trying to remember the events that went on. Hef and I hope to keep our winning streak alive at the Lunker Buster event next Sunday and I’m sure we will be able to provide some entertainment. For now it’s time to clean the house up so that some company can come over 🙂 Signing off.
5 Fish, 10.60lbs 5th Place
I begin this writing tonight on an extremely sad note. Jonathan lost his life a few days ago after a short battle with lung cancer. It’s incredibly frustrating and confusing when you see a guy my age who loved what he did for a living and genuinely enjoyed life being taken away. I still remember the last night we talked in person. Me, Hef, and a few of the guys met up with him at Michaels when it was in Zeigler for a wing night during his Christmas break since he was in town from Arizona. We ate, had a great time, shook hands and wished him well going home. I told him right before I walked out the door that we’d all have to come visit him soon which he replied “Ya right, you guys won’t”. He was correct. None of us made it out there to him. There have been so many great things posted on his timeline dedicated to his memory on Facebook that I don’t feel I need to repeat them. You’ll see how many lives the guy touched. This is just a temporary goodbye “Nut”, or better yet a see ya later.
Before I get to fishing I’d like to pass on the word that the Annual Elk’s Benefit Buddy Bass Tournament will be held at Rend Lake this Sunday. The pre meeting is Saturday the 5th at 6:00 p.m. You can sign up all the way up until then. There will be an auction before hand and the money goes to a great cause. For more information you can contact me or Alan at Rend Lake Sporting Goods. If you’re freed up come on out it’s a great time!
On another note (before fishing) I have to say a Huge THANKYOU!!! to everyone for making this blog what it is. I had a couple more people come up to me this week and tell me that they enjoy reading it and that means the world. I promise you I don’t fabricate these stories and anyone who fishes with me will tell you it’s as genuine as it gets. This has been the best year of my life with all the things that I’ve gotten accomplished. I’m sitting out back on a huge cedar deck that looks amazing and really compliments my newly finished house that I never thought I’d get completed. I’ve got a great business that I’m trying to get up off the ground, and I’m back to exercising and eating right which I hadn’t done in a couple of years and feel great. Ok, enough about me.
Hef and I fished last Sunday night in order to practice for the upcoming Wednesday nighter. It started off great when the second spot we got on produced a nice fish. Shortly after we boated a small one. I think we both just wanted to get away and ease our minds about Jonathan so we ended up going to the farthest north end of Gun Creek to get away from all the boat traffic and fish relaxed. The fish must have heard us coming because they packed up and left and we didn’t catch another FISH the rest of the night….That’s right you read correctly. Our most exciting part of the night was still yet to come. We wanted to fish rocks the last hour for some explosive top water action and did we get it, in spades… Hef had flung his zara spook parallel to the rocks when we saw a snake surface right next to it. He tried to pull the bait over the top but accidently wound up driving the treble hooks right into it. One shake from the snake caused the other hooks to dig in and the fight was on. None of this helped being the fact we looked like two girls dancing around the boat along Interstate 57 with everyone watching. I had no choice (which I still regret) but to use the paddle on the snake. If I had it to do over again I would’ve put my big boy pants on and grabbed it. Hef you had to catch a 3 footer didn’t ya? Well since it was me and Hef you know things aren’t over. I told him let’s moved down to Highway 154 for the last 20 minutes of fishing. Same scenario only this time I parallel my buzzbait down a bank the same time a Blue Heron Crain fly’s out wrapping my bait in its wings. The bird flew off in a panic but couldn’t get far. I was certainly not going to kill another animal that night, and especially not a fellow fisherman. I began reeling the big “marlin” in and cutting line away as not to leave any chance of the bird getting wrapped up. It finally made its way up to the bank as did we and Hef began to step out of the boat. I asked “what you doing”? He said “you got my bait out of the snake, so I’m going to go get yours”. I thought to myself this will be good, Hef is going to get all torn up. The bird saw big bearded guy heading up to it flapped its wings one more time and shook the bait. What luck! Hef jumped back into the boat and I told him let’s just get the hell out of here before we do anymore damage. Nut I hope you got a good laugh looking down buddy but there will be many more to come.
The tournament didn’t go so hot. We caught plenty of fish but I lost a huge one due to a stupid mistake that I must own, Hef made sure of it. We both fished extremely poor and not only lost what would’ve been big bass and the winning weight, but we lost double that. It happens to everyone it just hurts is all. Once again Nut has to be smiling down on that. Signing off.
Anyone who fishes Rend Lake consistently for bass will tell you it’s unlike any lake in the country. One day you look like a genius the next day you look like a lost little puppy. That’s how Ryan and I felt Saturday. We had 0 fish for the entire day!!! No keepers whatsoever. You couldn’t miss the setup any worse than we did and I really didn’t want to come back to Rend the following day to donate my money 2 days in a row but Hef was ready to get back out on the waters so I had no choice. The only bright side was the tournament was to be over at noon rather than the usual 2:00 which is a double edged sword. You have less time to find the pattern.
We took off out of sailboat harbor just after daylight. There is no place better to be in my opinion than on Rend Lake when the sun has yet to peek over the tree tops. We arrive at the Gun Creek Bridge and started with a Crankbait in the front and Spook in the back style of fishing but to no avail. We soon switched to both of us on the front of the boat paralleling the rocks and drop-offs with a buzzbait for me and a spook for Hef. About 20 minutes in after missing two small bites Hef got a taker and we boated number one in which barely went over the 14 inch limit. After the day I had previously this was just what the dr. ordered. After another 30 minutes of going down the same bank we decided to hit some drop-offs that I hit when it’s still early in the morning but nothing came of it. We were well into the 8 o’clock hour when it was time to do the thing I love doing most which is flipping and pitching buck brush. We ran to an area of the lake that had just enough water behind the buckbrush that gave me confidence we could catch a few. Hef started things out with a less than manly hookset on a fish that showed itself and looked to be 2lbs but wasn’t penetrated with his jig so it came off. About 10 yards down I pitch into the heart of a bush that I always fish but have never caught a keeper on. My line went heavy and I set into what would prove to be our biggest fish of the day that went only 2.70lbs. With 2 keeper bites in such a short distance we decided this was where we would settle in at for the last 3 hours of the tournament. Fate stepped in shortly after our 2nd keeper when I got hung up on a tree and lost my jig trailer. This is usually not a problem but after frantically searching the boat I couldn’t find anymore jig trailers. Not having a jig at rend is like not having 4-wheel drive in the middle of a bean field, you’re playing with fire. The only other box I had brought with me was my shaky head box with very light shaky heads but I had to make do. After getting tied back up I made two pitches into a tree and swung a fish into the boat that was just shy of a keeper but more importantly gave me confidence that I needed when calling the audible. After a rare line break on a fish and a lot of cussing myself a fish splashed behind me chasing a shad. I flipped in immediately where the bait ball had been broken up made two tugs when my line ran off giving us keeper number 3. This is how you know it’s going to be a good day when you get a bonus fish like that. We went on about a 30 minute dry spell with one 4lbs catfish making the heart beat quickly when I was able to get number four in off of a limb hanging out off of point. After dumping the fish in the livewell I thought it was time for a little needling. I said “If you’d get number 5 right here it’d make up for my stupidity on the line break and your wussy hook set” barely getting the word “set” out Hef rips into a 15 incher giving us a limit by 10:30 a.m. We were only setting around 9lbs and knew we couldn’t get comfortable as this was a larger tournament so we bared down and went back to work. A few small fish into the boat and approaching 11:20 I told Hef we needed to motor back to where I caught our biggest keeper on that point bush. We idle over there and seconds after I pitch in my line runs off again and I’m able to boat a solid 2.50 lbs fish culling us up almost a pound. Hef and I proceeded to argue over which fish was smaller and after choosing one began to really argue over who caught the fish that got pitched back into the water. The guy who catches the least amount of fish has to go weigh them so there is some nostalgia for us to uphold. With 10 minutes to go I flip into another bush and rip my line again which has me furious this time but not as furious as Hef was about to become. There was a little stick hanging just off of a point that I had casted to but never had a whiff. Hef makes one pitch to it and sets the hook so hard I hear a major whip lash in his line. Only problem was his hands had so much sweat on them that they came off of the rod and it stuck in his shirt. After getting back on his reel he lifted the fish up which I can see is around 4lbs! Little did we know it wasn’t hooked well enough and the reverse physics must have caused the hook to fall out of its mouth. He was beat red and very angry hahaha.
We get to the weigh in and drop 10.04lbs onto the scales which was more than enough in the shortened tournament but that 4lbs would’ve been a nice addition. The other great news is Ryan who I had crapped out with the night before decided he was going to give it another go and brought his 7 year old boy Mace. They weighed in 4 fish for 8.40lbs giving them 2nd just barely over 3rd place and Mace caught the deciding fish just over 2lbs. After receiving his money he had a smile from ear to ear as he had won a tournament with his dad just a few days before. To say the kid is hooked would be an understatement! signing off
10.04lbs First place
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